Smile. You are likely on cellphone camera in class

Mitt Romney was surprised during the 2012 election when someone made a video of his controversial 47% remarks at a supposedly private affair. Classrooms are even less private with cellphones abundant yet apparently some faculty are surprised to find themselves on YouTube or elsewhere when they say things they shouldn’t.  You can raise questions of academic freedom, legalities of surreptitious recordings, etc. But the world is what it is and a cautionary tale can be found below:

Inside Higher Ed, among other sources, picked up the story of a Michigan State U professor who ranted against Republicans: Michigan State University has removed a tenured professor of creative writing from the classroom following anti-Republican and other statements he made on the first day of class. Parts of William Penn’s course and personal introduction were downright benign — he talked about his rabbits, Falafel and Chickpea. He also warned students that, as a “child of the ’60s,” he wasn’t always politically correct. But at least an eight-minute segment apparently captured by a student contained remarks that university administrators say crossed the line between free speech and disrespect, and may have “negatively affected the learning environment.” …

Full story with video at

An earlier story in the popular media can be found at